Today, from Chuck Swindoll. In God's family, every body is born the same way. We all have the same Father. We all are in the same family.
Stop letting your differences break down the fellowship. In the Christian family, when you meet a brother or you meet a sister, you've met a family member. A quick survey of the New Testament reveals a multitude of references to these three powerful words, love one another. Whether from the lips of Jesus or the apostles, it's an explicit command to pull together in unity. Today on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll continues a message that started Wednesday, in which he's teaching from 1 Peter 1. In this passage, Peter charged Christians everywhere to fervently love one another from the heart.
In the event that you missed our previous program, we'll begin with helpful highlights. Chuck titled his message, Hope Beyond Division. I wonder if Christ, in returning to this earth suddenly, would say to all of us in our churches, ladies and gentlemen, love one another.
Believe in one another. Jesus' words in John 13, he is with his 12 for the last time. They came into the room with unwashed feet. He noticed it, and during the supper, according to verse 3, he rose, verse 4, he rose from the table and he laid aside his garments and put a towel around his waist and poured water from a pitcher into a basin, and then he went about through the group washing the disciples' feet. His statement is, if I then, the Lord and teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. Jesus says in verse 34, a new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
Now watch closely. By this, all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. Over in chapter 17, Jesus is a few, perhaps not even hours, maybe minutes later. He is praying. John 17 is an entire chapter of the Lord's Prayer.
I'm intrigued by the things he asked for. Verse 9, I ask on their behalf, meaning the disciples, I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine. Verse 11, and I am no more in the world, I'm leaving shortly, I will be gone, and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to thee, Holy Father, keep them in thy name, the name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are. Holy Father, nothing has ever broken our relationship, no enemy has ever penetrated and ruined our fellowship. Holy Father, keep them in your name, that they may be one.
A tightly knit unit of love. Look at verse 20. Believe it or not, he prays for us in this ancient prayer. I do not ask on behalf of these alone, that's the 12, or the 11 faithful disciples, but for those also who believe in me through their word, that's you and me, indirectly we are believing in the Lord Jesus through the words of his followers. Verse 21, that they may all be one, that they may be perfected into a unit, into a team, that they may be one. I hope I'm not cynical when I say I think some groups outside Christianity must think behold, how they lacerate one another, how they shred one another. If there is anything that would keep me away from Christ these days if I were lost, it would be the attitude of Christians toward one another. That would do it.
That would do it. I find a wonderful fellowship in this church that God has raised up. I feel affirmed and loved and warmed by the fire of your friendship and I hope you feel it back from me. Philippians chapter 2 is Paul's addition to my thoughts here. In fact, I just picked a couple of verses that are so familiar you hardly need to turn. The third and fourth verses of Philippians 2.
These verses, if you put them into everyday language would sound like what you tell children in a nursery school. Verse 3, Paul writes to the Philippians, do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but in contrast, with a humility of mind, let each of you regard one another as more important than himself. Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. You want to pull together as a family, just obey verses 3 and 4.
Stop looking for the credit. Stop looking out for what you want in just an empty sense of conceit, but with a humble mind, look out for the other fellow. Have regard for her or for him.
Not your own personal interests only, but the other person's interests. In the letter Peter wrote, the first letter, there is a never to be forgotten command that sort of oozes out of the page of the first chapter and on into the second. It's the command to love one another.
Remember now these Christians are hurting and with all due respect for people when they hurt, it is very easy to get a little thin on love. These people, verse 1, are scattered. I have that circled in my Bible. Verse 1, chapter 1, they're scattered. In verse 6, they are distressed. I have that circled in my Bible.
Though now for a little while you have been distressed. Circle that. They're scattered. They're not living at home. They're not sleeping in their own bed.
They're not around the familiar scenes of their childhood and growing up years. They're running for their lives. Nero is on the throne. It's maddening to live as a Christian. They're distressed by various trials. Verse 7, they're tested.
I have that circled. Tested by fire. They're going through a time of testing. Some of them are tempted to be conformed to the former lusts.
Verse 14, and he appeals to them as obedient children not to let that happen. Don't fall back into your own rut. You're being mistreated. You're scattered. You're going through tough times. Don't rely on the way you used to live, men and women.
Don't be conformed to your former lusts. Now beginning at verse 22, he sort of brings to a climax this, it's a little too shallow to call it a pep talk, but it's a rather pertinent exhortation. That might sound like a preacher's way to put pep talk. This is an exhortation for them to pull together. They're in the same family. They're going in the same direction.
Ultimately will reach the same destination. So what is it that makes that possible? How do you support one another?
How do you develop this unity and community so that you don't live your life so damned-ably lonely? Verse 22, what makes it possible? I find three things at the beginning of this verse. Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren. First, there is obedience to the truth. Second, there is purity of soul. Third, there is a lack of hypocrisy.
That's what makes possible pulling together. I want to obey the truth. I don't want to go with my inner urges.
I don't want to go according to the counsel of other people who will turn me against someone. I want to obey the truth. So in obedience to the truth and with purity of soul, a down deep purity of motive and for a sincere love of the brethren. See the word sincere?
Look in the margin and trace that. It's the word anupakritas, unhypocritical. So an absence of hypocrisy. You'll be on the team and you'll pull with the team if you get rid of hypocrisy. Pride and pulling together never mix well, never builds a team. A mutual friendship cannot grow in a context of hypocrisy. Now what keeps all this strong?
See the end of verse 22, fervently love one another. My goodness, I made a very profound point there, didn't I? What else am I going to come up with that's going to do it? Whew. It's how he would say that what happened when you're anointed, those kind of things happen to you. Whew.
He is coming, isn't he? Someone said that somewhere. Fervently love one another. There's a lot of passion here. There's a strong sense of emotion and commitment. Now you cannot tell from the English, but if you could read this in the original, you see love of the brethren and then later love one another. Love of the brethren and then fervently love one another from the heart. The first love is a philos love. In fact, love of the brethren is Philadelphia. That's exactly what that word means, love of the brethren. Brother love, a sincere love of brother and sister, but now what keeps it strong? There's a fervent love, agape. He changes words on us. There's an agape from the heart for one another. Kenneth Weish does a masterful job in explaining the two.
Just listen. The exhortation is to love one's brother Christian because he is precious to God and to love him with a love that is willing to sacrifice one's self for the benefit of that brother. A love that causes one to be long suffering toward him.
You'll notice he's now tracing 1 Corinthians 13. A love that makes one treat him kindly. A love that so causes one to rejoice in the welfare of another that there's no room for envy. A love that is not jealous. A love that keeps one from boasting of one's self. A love that keeps one from bearing one's self in a lofty manner. A love that acts becomingly. A love that keeps one from becoming angry, that does not impute evil, that does not rejoice in iniquity. That is the kind of love which God says one Christian should have for another. Maybe it's time to pause and take a look inside your heart because that's what he does.
Fervently loving one another from the heart. I find in my life when I am snipey and negative and ugly toward a brother or a sister, I find that my heart's not right. And often in an honest moment of analysis I discover I am in worse inner condition than he ever could be in his situation. I lack in my heart his welfare or her welfare. We have in our church several support groups. If you're not involved in one of them you wouldn't know this, but if you are you know how actively engaged they are in one another's lives. I've gotten enough response from them to know that for some they couldn't survive without such support groups.
Did you hear what they're called? Support groups. Some are struggling through the backwash of a divorce. They're trying to gain self-respect and a sense of dignity again. And they find support from others who are going through the same turmoil. Those of us who have never been divorced cannot imagine, cannot imagine the feeling of rejection and sadness and loneliness that accompanies that condition. Some are in the grip of an awful habit. And right now they're clean or they're dry but they realize that they're just a day away, just an hour away from the same old thing. And the support of one another keeps them strong.
I could go on and on. There are perhaps 20 or more such support groups. They're not promoted, there's not a lot of fanfare, but week in and week out they meet at this place all together in the hundreds. You know why they keep coming? You know why they find refuge in a harbor here? Because they find support. They find love, acceptance, arms around them. They find a lack of judgmental spirit. They find tolerance. They find care and encouragement. But does the flock have to all be in a support group to know support from one another?
What if you're not in one of the support groups? Do you sense from your brothers and sisters in the family this kind of love and lack of judgmental spirit, this true affection, this arm around your shoulder saying, I'm in your corner? One of our board members said that to me recently and it meant more to me than a thousand words from some theology professor.
He put his arm around me and he said, Chuck, I just want to tell you something. I'm in your corner. I had a sense that we're pulling together. I feel that from our staff. I feel that from most of you.
I'm so grateful. My heart goes out to those right now who haven't that. So let me say in conclusion some things about support. And I find verses 23 chapter 1 through 3 of chapter 2, I find four very needed reminders. What is it that pulls me with others in the family of God?
What is it? Since we don't have to look alike and we are not of the same temperament and we don't all vote the same way come election, what is it that causes us to support one another? In the world you have to be in little cliques to find support. What is it about the Christian family that gives us a sense of oneness and support?
Well, let me give you the first one. We are children of the same father. That's verse 23. We are children of the same father. You have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable.
That is through the living and abiding word of God. You know I was thinking while putting my thoughts together for this talk, I was thinking in the human family there are multiple different kinds of births. Now I know the actual birth itself is always the same.
But just stop and think about the differences. Some are born into this life in a natural birth. Some are brought into this life by Caesarian. Some are born from a mother that they stay with throughout their lives.
They know them, they love them, they find support with them and they grow up with that same woman who bore them. Many have no idea who their mother is. Many more don't know who their father is.
Never met him, never once. Some have lived in homes where there have been four and five mothers or four and five fathers. Some have been adopted. Some were born from mothers who had no anesthesia. Some were born from mothers who had a lot of anesthesia. My children were born from a mother whose husband wanted anesthesia. When I was born my mother was given a little chloroform. You talk about not being wanted when your mother is given chloroform at your birth. I feel like the Rodney Dangerfield of the family. But that's what they gave back then, just a little whiff to take the pain away. My dad was right there.
He was the one applying it. Well that's a scary thought, isn't it? All different kinds of setups but in God's family every body is born the same way. We all have the same father. We all are in the same family. That's a reason to pull together. You're a brother. You're a sister just because you're in the Lord. Stop letting your differences break down the fellowship. Stop listening to the world and getting your cues from the world that gives us strata of fellowship where the upper crust relates to the upper crust and the middle class relates to the middle class. And those who are in this habit or this hobby relate to one another and nobody else.
That's hogwash. In the Christian family when you meet a brother or you meet a sister you meet a family member. We've all been born anew. The second reason we pull together is because we take our instruction from the same source.
We take our instruction from the same source. Do you see what it is? It is through the living and abiding Word of God. All flesh is like grass. All its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers. The flower falls off but the Word of the Lord abides forever. You talk about a reliable source of truth. This is the same book I've been reading from throughout the history of the church. This wonderful book was chained to a pulpit in the dark ages.
It was in Latin which was the language of the clergy but now it has been freed for all of us to read. We all read the same book. We get our instruction from the same source and it abides forever.
In fact, verse 25 concludes, it's the same Word which was preached to you. Now let me say something here because there's nothing automatic about being exposed to the same source of truth. You can sit and listen to truth being delivered and it can change your life in a moment's time.
It's remarkable. Someone can be sitting right next to you hearing the same thing and go right on living against the will of God. A man said to me recently that one of the difficulties he had in dealing with an individual who was in the family is that that same individual has heard the same body of truth over the passing of about 11 years in this congregation. And that individual is living away from God and it's hurting his family and it's hurting his adult fellowship. He said, it's hard for me to believe as I look across the congregation that the same man who hears what I'm hearing is living like that. So what I want to say is that you have a responsibility in hearing the truth to apply it.
That is so true. Hearing the truth is one thing. Absorbing and applying the truth is quite another. You're listening to Insight for Living and a message from Chuck Swindoll titled Hope Beyond Division. Stay with us because Chuck has prepared a closing comment for you in just a moment.
But first, if you'd like to learn more about this ministry, visit us online at insightworld.org. You know, we're aware there are many people listening right now who are searching for hope. For example, one of your fellow listeners wrote to us and said this, Chuck, 33 years ago, I was a thief, a drunk and addicted to porn. On the night I decided to kill myself, I was listening to a rock music station that went off the air for a moment. I grabbed the dial to tune back to the music station and instead I heard the announcer saying, stay tuned for Insight for Living. I heard a message of love and forgiveness through Jesus and my life was changed forever. I went to Bible school, met a great woman, had four children, and I'm now the worship leader at my church. I love you.
Well, I thought you'd be encouraged by that sensational conversion story. And let me pass along his thanks to all those who financially sustain Insight for Living. In many respects, your generous giving has impacted dads like this one and so many more.
So thank you. Along those lines, we're coming up on a deadline here at Insight for Living. This season marks the end of our financial year and our reserves are dwindling.
Here's Chuck. From time to time, we find it necessary to pull back the curtain and give you an unobstructed view behind the scenes. As a valued member of our listening family, you need to know that we're facing an overwhelming financial need that could impact you in the days and months ahead. Giving levels have dipped well below our capacity to maintain current ministries. And our need is nothing short of urgent. And yet, even in this crucial hour, we're absolutely confident that loyal friends like you can help us close the gap before the June 30th deadline. If everyone who benefits from Insight for Living Ministries pitched in and did their part, we would readily take care of the shortfall. So let me thank you in advance for generously investing, so that together we can fulfill the Great Commission and make disciples of all the nations.
Giving is really simple when you go online, give us a call, or write us a letter. In closing, let me express my warm sentiments toward our friends like you by reading this warm affirmation to the people of Philippi. Listen to Philippians 1 verses three through seven as they are found in the New Living Translation. Paul wrote these words, Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. For you have been my partners in spreading the good news about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.
So you have a special place in my heart because you share with me the special favor of God. And here's how to get in touch with us at Insight for Living. If you've downloaded our convenient mobile app, just follow the simple instructions. Or if you'd like to speak to one of our ministry reps, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888. Again that's 857-772-8888. Or you can give a donation online by going to insight.org slash donate.
I'm Bill Meyer. Join us next time when Chuck Swindoll continues to offer solid reasons for pulling together on Insight for Living. The preceding message, Hope Beyond Division, Reasons for Pulling Together, was copyrighted in 1988, 1990, 1996, 2005, 2010, and 2023. And the sound recording was copyrighted in 2023 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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